Friday, November 9, 2012

The Weekend 10: Fishy Conspiracy Theories

With the 2012 election now a thing of the past (insert big exhale here), I'm now hearing from some of my more conservative friends that there's just no way the results are legit... that Karl Rove's "gut feeling" has never been this far off. I've even heard a few mutterings about the likelihood of a rigged election (to which, as a left-of-center guy, I respond, "You're gonna pull this shit after the 2000 election and eight years of Dubya? Suck it up, Cowboy--the sun came up on Wednesday, didn't it?").

It got me thinking that I need to focus on what's really important, especially as we head into the first weekend after the second Tuesday in November: the conspiracies that abound in the fishing world. They might not garner as much ink as the notion that FEMA is busy building concentration camps for Tea Party storm refugees, or that SWAT teams are going door-to-door collecting every last gun from American citizens while UN election observers take over Texas (and let's be honest... if the UN was going to take over a state, would Texas really be its first choice?), but they're out there. And, they're out there, too. 

For the record, some are serious, some ... not so much. I'll leave it for you decide--the way conspiracies should really work. So, for weekend consideration, here you go:

Marc Payne does his part. 
1) Removing lake trout from Yellowstone Lake makes no sense at all because lake trout and cutthroat trout can get along just fine. False. Let's debunk this one immediately. In Yellowstone Lake, since lake trout were discovered in 1994, the spawning population of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout has declined by well over 90 percent, and, in some spawning streams, 99 percent of the spawning runs have been lost. Sure, there are examples of lakes in the Rockies where non-native lake trout and native cutthroat trout do co-exist--it's a predator-prey thing, where balance has come into play over a very long period of time. It's possible, over time, that the same thing would happen in Yellowstone Lake. But that's a really close-minded way of looking at this problem. First, Yellowstone cutthroat trout were a major food source for a number of Yellowstone's other critters (grizzly bears, ospreys, eagles, otters, etc.), and that means the "trickle down" impact on Yellowstone's entire ecosystem from lake trout predation is significant. So, yeah, eventually, balance might take over, and as a consumptive fisherman, I can see where that balance might be acceptable. But as a "complete angler," that's not good enough--Yellowstone is cutthroat country, and it's about more than just what we can catch with a hook and line. Lakers don't belong. If you want to catch lake trout, just wander over to Jackson Lake or Jenny Lake, where native cutts exist in about half their historic numbers thanks to the "balance" created by the lake trout that eat them. You want catch lake trout in Yellowstone Lake? Volunteer with the National Park Service and help net those bastards into oblivion. 

2) Tenkara fishing is just a way for Daniel Galhardo to make money, and the Japanese didn't really invent it. This one is interesting, because I'm sure, what with the recent partnership between Tenkara USA and Orvis that puts Tenkara USA products in the Orvis catalogs, Daniel is actually making some cheddar (and good for him). But the notion that Tenkara fishing is just a glorified cane pole is probably a little true, and a little false. There's no rational argument that says the Japanese didn't really use this method. They did. There's also no rational argument that say only the Japanese used long rods for fishing. I grew up in east Texas--I've seen folks using long rods with no reels to catch bass, catfish, crappie and bream. I never, however, saw those folks cast a cane pole like a fly rod, or use a fly instead of bait. Verdict: Eh... true and false.

3) The Adams is an attractor that doesn't really imitate any one specific natural insect. I love this fly--it's my favorite. In fact, for the summer of 2013, I am going to fish for trout with nothing but an Adams (I might throw a parachute variant in there, just for some diversity), and I'll document the project here on the blog, as a foundation for what I hope will be a larger book project in the future. The Adams is a creation of Leonard Halladay and tied specifically for an angler named Charles F. Adams to try on a pond that was an impoundment off the Boardman River in Michigan. The fly was what Mr. Halladay described as a "knock-out," or a quick invention at the vise. Mr. Adams enjoyed great success with the fly, and Halladay bestowed upon the fly the name of the first angler to catch fish with it. But what does it imitate? History never really says... some say the fly is based on an insect Mr. Adams gave to Halladay in hopes the tyer could come up with a suitable pattern. Others say Halladay just sat down and tied up the first thing that came to mind. I'll say this... the Adams is the perfect imitation of a Rock Creek march brown mayfly, and I suspect, in larger versions, it might work during Michigan's famed green drake hatch. I've had small version work during the Henry's Fork flav hatch, and the South Fork's blue-winged olive hatch. Verdict? True ... mostly. 

"One down, 10 million to go. Soon, they'll all
be mine... MINE, I tell you!"
4) Barack Obama is out to get your fly rods. This is absolutely true. Hoard them. Collect them. Dig secret compartments in your basement and carefully hide them. We saw what Obama did during his first four years--all of our guns are gone, right? You know your fishing rods are next. I figure you have until early January before the feds start knocking down your door with a court order demanding your graphite. Repeat after me: "You can have my seven-foot 4-weight when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers, Mr. President."

5) Fly fishing is addictive, and therefore detrimental to your health. True. Duh. 

6) This one, provided by EMBT Facebook fan Gary CollinsIf you pet a cat before going out to the river, you might as well give up. You're not going to catch anything. Verdict? Troubling. Thankfully, I'm a dog person, but I know a lot of cat folks out there who like to fish. Needless to say, the next time one of the kids asks me for a kitten, the answer is easy. "Sure you can have a trampoline. And a motorcyle, too. And an Uzi."

7) From Facebook fan Tom Hazelton: "The Eat More Brook Trout" lobby in Michigan's UP. Wait... there's a lobby? Apparently, there is, and as as Tom wisely notes, "Talk about a tin-foil-hat scenario." I'm going with ... true. 

Rachel Morgan... a woman and a fly fisher. Hmph.  
8) Chicks can't fly fish. As much as some of us--and you know who you are--resent the notion that the ladies deserve some special attention in this category, this one is false. Very false. Here's to waders "that don't make my butt look big," pink fly rods and whatever else it takes to get women on the water. Frankly, fly fishing needs you. And, if you're curious how to get involved, here's a great new site just for you. Enjoy, and I hope to see you on the river!

9) Bananas are bad voodoo. So says Flyfishilicious herself, Jen Kugler. This one bugs the crap out of me, because bananas are free, according to Weight Watchers Plus. I guess it's back to cumquats. Damn. 

10) And, finally, you can't fly fish AND be a paranoid conspiracy theorist. False. Sure you can. But you're too busy to fish these days because you're getting ready for the apocalypse that is now guaranteed to happen, thanks to Tuesday's election results. The good news is, you're too depressed and, frankly, too busy preparing for the End of Days to continue shouting mindlessly into the ether. Oh, wait... I just got a Tweet. I'm wrong about that last part, huh? Which leaves it to you, really, to answer the age-old question: "If I continue to shout into a vacuum, will anybody actually listen?" I'd love to know the answer to that one, but I quit listening about a year ago. 

Happy weekend, friends...


  1. There are a lot of very smart trout in the Henry's Fork that have gotten fooled into thinking a drifting Adams was a real life Callibeatis as well.

    I agree, Chris - regardless of Halladay's actual motives, he ended up creating the greatest dry fly in the world.

  2. Add to the list "Fly Fishermen are effete, intellectual snobs". False. The ones I know are like me; dumb as a rock and drink PBR.

    1. I totally agree... say, do you have a smoking jacket I can borrow? ;)

    2. Jay, pull up alongside my rig, I'll hand some over. You'll recognize it, the 1957 Bentley. With the half-rack of PBR on the hatch.

  3. Michigan has a famous green drake hatch? Brown drakes, yes. Hex, yes. Green drakes? I haven't heard that one. At least not that it is famous.

    1. Good call, Greg! Living in Idaho, our green drakes would be your hexagenia hatch... which are much bigger, I would suspect than our green drakes. I've never fished the hex hatch, but have heard it referred to as the green drake hatch, as well. My mistake.

  4. Our chartered fishing boat sunk on our honeymoon, because some woman brought bananas on board. That banana juju is serious.


    1. Good God, man... why hasn't anybody told me sooner!?

  5. Colorado is the trout fishing capitol of the US. Absolutely false...we do love our carp though.

  6. Theory 4 has got to be far off. Why would I let the fed ruin my fishing trip by having my fishing rods taken from me?

  7. Interesting; I've been hearing how the adam's attractor isn't the best out on the market, and how it's not effective at all. Since you've proven me otherwise, though, I guess I'll get me one and try it myself. It may have some promise, after all.